13 Facts About Lil Bub

Lil Bub visiting the Museum of the Moving Image in 2016
Lil Bub visiting the Museum of the Moving Image in 2016
Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Lil Bub, the internet's cutest cat, is gone. According to a post by her owner, Mike Bridavsky, Lil Bub died peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, December 1, while battling an aggressive bone infection. Since her birth in June 2011—and particularly after capturing the internet's heart in 2012—she has raised more than $300,000 for animals in need, among other accomplishments.

In 2013, Mental Floss went to Social Tees Animal Rescue for an interview with the feline star and her owner, held in honor of the documentary Lil Bub & Friendz, which was playing at the Tribeca Film Festival that year. Here’s what we learned about the feral cat-turned-internet sensation.

1. Lil Bub's owner said she might have been an alien.

The official story is that Bub was discovered in a rural Indiana tool shed in June 2011, the runt of a litter of feral cats. But Bub didn't look like any of her siblings, Bridavsky told us at the time, "which leads us to believe that she may actually be an alien creature that crashed to Earth, and found this litter of Earth kittens and just joined them to fit in."

2. When she was born, Lil Bub couldn't nurse.

Lil Bub outside Social Tees Animal Rescue
Lil Bub outside Social Tees Animal Rescue
Erin McCarthy

Because of the shape of her mouth, Bub couldn't nurse, so she was bottle-fed until she could eat on her own.

3. When he first saw her, Lil Bub's vet said she was the weirdest cat he had ever seen.

At the time, Bub was 8 weeks old and weighed just 6 ounces, about the size of a Hacky Sack. "He was concerned that with so many birth defects she may not live very long, maybe only a few months," Bridavsky said. "But after doing some tests it turned out she was in good shape!" She and Bridavsky lived a pretty normal life until one of her photos went viral in 2012.

4. A day in Lil Bub's life was pretty regimented.

Lil Bub and owner on her green blanket
Lil Bub and owner Mike Bridavsky on her green blanket
Samantha Brody for Social Tees Animal Rescue

As of 2013, Lil Bub slept in bed with Bridavsky on her green blanket (which she also traveled with). After waking, they'd take a trip outside so Bub could go to the bathroom. Then Bridavsky mixed Bub's food and medicine, which she ate while he was in the shower. After the shower, he often had to rearrange her food because she liked to smush it. "She’s a lot of work," Bridavsky said, "but I love doing it. It’s great. We have a good relationship."

While Bridavsky prepared the daily Bub blog post, she napped in his lap. Later, they might have shot some photos for the blog or gone outside and hang out.

5. Bub had an extra toe on each foot.

Lil Bub had a total of 22 toes. (Most cats have 18.)

6. After becoming an internet sensation, Bub traveled more than 10,000 miles.

Lil Bub in her owner's arms
Lil Bub in Bridavsky's arms
Samantha Brody for Social Tees Animal Rescue

Lil Bub visited places like New York City, Minneapolis, and Portland. She traveled on the plane with Bridavsky and hung out in her carrier at his feet. "She usually sleeps through the flight," Bridavsky said in 2013. "Airports and everything, she’s totally fine."

7. Bub met many celebrities.

Bub's man celebrity fans included Twilight’s Jackson Rathbone and Robert De Niro, among others. She also appeared on Good Morning America and the Today show.

8. Lil Bub had several medical issues.

Bub had dwarfism, an underdeveloped jaw, and no teeth (that's why her tongue stuck out). She also had osteopetrosis, an exceptionally rare bone disease in cats.

9. Lil Bub loved yogurt.

When Bub wanted to treat herself, she went for one thing: Yogurt. And nothing but Brown Cow yogurt would do.

10. Lil Bub snored. A lot.

For a small cat—she weighed just 3.9 pounds—Bub snored pretty loudly. But it was still adorable.

11. Although she was a cat, Bub preferred dogs.

Here she is meeting Tuna the dog, above.

12. Bub was friends with another internet kitty.

Bub's favorite internet cat/boyfriend was Smoosh, another celebrity feline from Bloomington, Indiana. Smoosh's owner, David, designed much of Bub's merchandise.

13. Most of the proceeds from the sale of Bub's merchandise went to animal shelters in her hometown.

Lil Bub on her green blanket
Lil Bub on her green blanket
Erin McCarthy

The shelters included the Bloomington Animal Shelter, the Monroe County Humane Association, and the Exotic Feline Rescue Center.

Lil Bub on her green blanket
Samantha Brody for Social Tees Animal Rescue

Therapy Puppy Provides Comfort to Grieving Families at North Carolina Funeral Home

AllenSphoto, iStock via Getty Images
AllenSphoto, iStock via Getty Images

Emotional support animals have become common sights at places like airports, and now the funeral industry is embracing their therapeutic benefits. As WGAL reports, Macon Funeral Home in North Carolina now has a Bernese mountain dog puppy to provide comfort to grieving clients.

Nine-week-old Mochi isn't a fully trained therapy dog yet, but she's already winning over visitors. Tori McKay, Macon's funeral office administrator, had dreamed of bringing a grief-support dog into the business for a decade. Shortly after her 30th birthday on January 4, she and her husband "decided that Mochi would make a wonderful addition to our family and this decade of our lives," she wrote on the funeral home's website.

McKay chose a Bernese mountain dog for the breed's affectionate personality, relaxed disposition, and successful history as an emotional support animal. Between ages 6 months to 1 year, Mochi will receive therapy dog training in Asheville. The plan is to eventually make her available to families upon request and bring her to nursing homes to meet with residents. Until then, the puppy is meeting guests in a more casual setting as she gets used to socializing with strangers.

"Stop by and meet her, she loves making new friends!" a post on the funeral home's Facebook page reads.

[h/t WGAL]

One of the World’s Most Dangerous Spiders Could Invade Homes after Australia's Recent Rainfall

Ian Waldie, Getty Images
Ian Waldie, Getty Images

While recent rainfall has been a welcome change in Australia after destructive bushfires caused a widespread crisis, it hasn’t come without an asterisk. According to the Australian Reptile Park, the wet and warm conditions have made Sydney funnel web spiders highly active—and the funnel web spider happens to be one of the most venomous arachnids on the planet.

In a video the park shared on Facebook, officials warn that the weather might cause a marked increase in the spiders' activity, as males cover territory in search of a mate. They might be found in shoes, in laundry, or in yards. Fortunately, Atrax robustus is easy to identify, with its shiny body providing a helpful visual cue to immediately begin walking in the other direction.

Male funnel webs are thought to have venom up to six times more dangerous than females and also tend to move around more, making human encounters with them more likely. Because they can’t climb smooth surfaces, funnel webs are also prone to burrowing in piled-up clothing or other hiding spaces, providing an unwelcome surprise for anyone looking to retrieve their discarded shirt or socks.

The funnel web is also aggressive, quick to attack when provoked, and packs a powerful enough bite to pierce shoes. After being bitten, pain, muscle spasms, and pulmonary edema follow. Victims should use a compression bandage and limb immobilization to compress surface tissue until they receive medical attention.

Though the species is believed to have caused 13 human deaths, there haven’t been any fatalities attributable to a funnel web bite since 1981. That’s due in large part to antivenom made from milked spiders, an advancement that saved the life of a 10-year-old boy, Matthew Mitchell, bitten by the spider in 2017. The spider was loitering in his shoe and bit him on the finger. After 12 vials of antivenom, Mitchell made a complete recovery.

The Australian Reptile Park is actually encouraging citizens to trap the spiders and bring them in to drop-off sites to aid in the antivenom production effort. They advise nudging the spider into a plastic or glass container with a spoon. Extreme caution should be exercised, but you knew that.

[h/t CNET]

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